Boy was this a bloated piece of barnacle run off. Now I’m not going to try and hide the fact that I just did not like this film. While it was the biggest adventure thus far it just tripped over its own convoluted sea legs and the result was an exposition/character heavy film that was as pointless as it was boring. Whew, glad I got that out. Now as someone who can usually see both sides to a film and is usually a bit more fair than is necessary, I’ll admit there were some interesting bits but I think you’d agree with me when I say I feel At World’s End was about as disappointing (and dumb really) as Revenge of the Fallen and the unnecessary Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Now you wouldn’t know that from the well cut trailer above but this film is about as bogged down with as much direction-less dialog as any of the Star Wars prequels. So what didn’t work there surely didn’t work here. Reason? Well I’m not usually one to point fingers but I’m gonna do it anyway, right or wrong. But be advised, this is gonna take a while…
In the (at the time) final installment of the Pirates series, At World’s End, like Dead Man’s Chest, starts very dark, this time with the detestable Lord Beckett hanging all the citizens of what looks like Port Royal. But that’s the first problem with this film. He’s executing people in a Port known for being against Pirates, as Pirates, in hopes they’ll sing a magical Pirate song to flush out more Pirates. Follow me? No I didn’t either. But it’s the beginning so we let it slide in hopes of proper exposition. So then we find Barbossa (yes, to much delight, he’s back), Ms. Swan and the rest of the crew in Singapore to negotiate a map from a Pirate lord which will lead them to Jack.
Aside from the elation in bringing back a second central character, here’s my first real cause to throw a BS flag in the air. At the end of Dead Man’s Chest Jack is eaten (from the looks of it) by the Kraken and through it’s magical portal of 100 teeth he’s not devoured, but transported to “Davy Jones’ locker”…[pause for effect] How is that even possible?? Does that mean the Kraken’s bowels are a portal to…limbo?? Or did Jack’s soul just happened to be transported to the great beyond after being processed by a sea creature’s digestive tract? “This better be going somewhere” I thought. But after seeing this three times there it still just doesn’t make sense.
Yeah Jack, that’s about how I feel after watching this mess too…
So the crew gets Jack back and then we get a bountiful helpings of Sparrow’s witty comments which are very welcomed because, “what’s a Pirate film without Jack Sparrow?”. But then story just proceeds to get weirder and weirder pretty much throwing out all of the plausibility established but the first and (to some degree) the second film. We learn that you can’t kill Davy Jones, well not without consequence. The Dutchman must always have a captain, so the person who kills Jones must take his place as Captain. OK again that’s an acceptable plot device. But last time we learned that Jones cut out his own heart so he wouldn’t feel the pain of his lost love Calypso. Now to find that every Captain must cut out his heart to be the Captain of the Dutchmen is just stupid. I mean, who would want that life?
Furthering the lunacy is the fact that Calypso isn’t just some long lost girlfriend. She’s also not only some deep south Voodoo mama, she is, in fact, a sea God…as in, queue trumpets, The God of the Sea (What? Did Neptune step down from his post?). Moreover, she’s been imprisoned by the 9 Pirate lords. Gosh friends, how much more material can one cram into this film?? Now that we’ve crammed those 9 Pirate Lords into the film (who don’t do anything in the finale except just wait on their ships) why not just throw thrown in 8 Maids a Milking and 7 Swans a Swimming because that would have made as much sense as the already dizzying number of characters.
While character development is one thing, this third film threw too many things at us to the point they didn’t care how far-fetched or underdeveloped it was. Case in point: Jack is one of the said 9 Pirate Lords. But he then why would he need to be given the title of Captain by Davy Jones? And Jones (who was once a human) became the tentacle chinned Pirate after he shucked his responsibility of ferrying lost souls to the beyond as the Captain of The Dutchmen…but then why is he still Captain? Don’t people who don’t do their job get…oh what’s the word?…Fired?
So while all this crap is going on there’s petty deals being made with Lord Beckett, along with a lot of infighting, backstabbing and more unpredictability than March Madness. This film isn’t even an exercise in how to craft a good story. No, this was like “how many plates can we juggle before we drop them all?” But when this sluggish plot and exposition heavy dialog finally got going we were already 124 minutes in (yes, that’s 2 hours and 4 minutes) and then we were then treated to a fantastic though thoroughly overblown and unbelievable final battle.
Sword fighting…on a top sail’s yard…in a maelstrom…without falling…riiiigggght
What’s the problem with that you ask? Well aside from it being jam packed with insane amounts of CG effects, it was really just 2 ships, the Pearl and the Dutchmen, going at it leaving the hundreds of ships (including those essential Pirate Lords) just watching it all happen. And don’t get me started on Calypso’s involvement or the Will Turner/Ms. Swan resolution. Even Mrs. Go,See,Talk, who goes for tied up lovey dovey happily ever after stuff called major BS on that mess.
With all the overly fantastic elements, unbelievable and mythological plot devices, this film should have been called Jack [Sparrow] and the Argonauts. I mean, this was supposed to be a Pirates film right? Based on a ride about just Pirates? Not gods, curses or alternate dimensions, right?
First, I’d like to thank everyone for staying with me this long. Those of you who jumped ship, I don’t blame you. To me, the best part this film is the ending and further, when it ended. I’ll be short here since I feel worn out from writing this, but I hope the On Stranger Tides gets back to what made the first film so enjoyable; the nearly down to Earth plot. From some early reviews that are squeaking out it sounds like good news and that’s putting my mind at ease. But we’ll see soon enough as I’ll be attending a pre-screening tonight, so look for a review to drop Friday. Until then…”Drink up me hearties, Yo Ho!”